I recently acquired a 1950s vintage Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 folder camera. It’s in good condition, but I had to repair a small hole in the bellows and then, subsequently, re-align the rangefinder patch when I discovered the camera wouldn’t focus to infinity. Also, I’ve noticed that the shutter sticks on speeds less than 1/50th of a second. This isn’t the end of the world though, as I don’t plan on shooting in dark locations or using long exposures, so I can probably live with it. For a sixty-something year old camera, I guess these things should be expected to some degree anyway. Whatever its age, it’s still a new camera to me.
Here’s it is. A few dings, scratches, and signs of age, but still a lovely little machine:
It’s weighty, but easily pocketable, and although the uncoupled rangefinder setup is slightly more complicated than what I’m used to, it was easy enough to figure out how it all worked. For anyone unfamiliar with this setup, an uncoupled rangefinder has separate focusing for the rangefinder patch and the lens. What you have to do is first focus the camera with the rangefinder, then look at the resulting distance setting on the focus wheel and then manually focus the lens to the same setting.
I took it out at the weekend for a test run with a roll of Fomapan 100, The weather was a little overcast to start with, necessitating wider apertures to be used, but brightened up after a while and allowed me to stop it down to f/11 and smaller.
On scanning the negs, I was a little disappointed to see that the first frames were a little soft. However, once I got to the exposures shot at narrower apertures, I could see the camera really come into its own, with very pleasing, sharp and contrasty photographs.
I’ve not uploaded many of them yet, but will post some of the softer images when I do. In the meantime though, here’s one of the results of the lens being stopped down. This is a couple of buildings in Paradise Square, in Sheffield.
Pretty, pretty good, as Larry David might say, I think.
Zeiss Mess-Ikonta 524/16 & Fomapan 100.
Taken on 22 October 2017